May 3

Sarah Robertson

Complete Guide to Ghost Butterfly Koi

Koi are incredibly attractive and comes in a variety of vibrant color and patterns. Around the world, these beautiful decorative fish are prized for their tranquil demeanor, making them excellent companions to garden ponds.

Koi breeds have an unrivaled value by international standards, as some have been known to sell for millions of dollars. In this article, we will discuss one such variety called the ghost butterfly koi, a beautiful descendant of wild carp.

A Ghost Butterfly Koi is a combination of a ghost koi and a butterfly koi. But what exactly are ghost koi and butterfly koi? A ghost koi, also known as a "ghosties," is the result of crossbreeding Ogon koi and mirror carp. The scales of ghost koi are a dark shade.

Ghost koi have been developed through selective breeding over time, and there are now various strains available. Other hues have been developed and introduced, but the beautiful metallic sheen is maintained. Butterfly koi, longfin koi, or dragon carp are a type of ornamental fish notable for their elongated finnage. The fish are actually a hybrid of the carp varieties koi and Asian carp.

What Is a Ghost Butterfly Koi?

The Ghost Butterfly Koi are a breed of koi fish that has been developed to combine the characteristics of ghost koi and butterfly koi. The ghost butterfly koi is a lovely fish with a metallic sheen, yellow scales, or a ghost white color.They'll have light-colored metallic heads and pectoral fins with long-flowing fins, just like a butterfly koi.

The gleam from these may be rather remarkable in the moonlight. The darker markings are instrumental in creating the illusion of these seemingly disappearing “ghost” fish.


It is critical to understand the history of a ghost koi in order to identify the origin of the ghost butterfly koi.  Ghost koi are a cross between Ogon and mirror carp. As a result, despite being classified as the same species, many breeders may regard them as fake koi because mirror carp is a wild mutation of common carp.

They're less domesticated than Japanese breeds since mirrored carp is a wild variation of common carp. Despite this, owing to their unique coloration, they are still widely accepted by koi breeders and enthusiasts.

The dark-colored ghost koi hybrid that was produced first had a metallic sheen like Ogon koi and uneven black coloration, resulting in offspring with the same. The original form of the first kid is unknown, although subsequent crossings resulted in lighter-hued, metallic-coated heads and pectoral fins.

The markings on the fish are important in giving the impression that these cold water fish are disappearing "ghost" fish. Ghost koi have been developed through selective breeding throughout many generations. Other colors have now been produced, although the stunning metallic sheen is kept. As a result of excellent care, as well as aging with respect, the hues tend to become brighter and more distinct.

Ghost Butterfly Koi was created by crossbreeding a ghost koi with a long-finned butterfly koi. As a result, they have the beautiful coloration of a ghost koi with the long fins of a butterfly koi. They have similar characteristics to both parent strains and are a rather peaceful fish.


Ghost butterfly koi are considered to be medium-sized fish, but they can grow quite large if given the proper care and environment. The average size of an adult ghost butterfly koi is about 2 feet long. However, some have been known to grow up to 3 feet in length. The size of your fish mainly depends on the conditions of your pond, the food you feed, and the quality of care you provide.


The lifespan of a Ghost Butterfly Koi is around 20 to 30 years, although some have been known to live up to 40 years with proper care. 


The most significant distinction between a ghost butterfly koi fish and other varieties of koi is the design of its fins and body. The metallic head and sparkling pectoral fins glimmer in the sunshine and vanish into the depths of a dark pond, making the ghost koi invisible. Ghost butterfly koi are notably prominent features of a Ghost butterfly Koi, hence the name.

The color is white, silvers, charcoals, gunmetals, and golds. Ghost Koi can also have a variety of scale patterns, including fully scaled small scales, big mirror scales, linear (lateral line and dorsal) scales, and leather (scaleless) variants. Within the completely scaled variety, Gin rin (sparkling scales) and Doitsu (no lateral line scales) are popular among koi keepers.


Because they are a cross between two different koi strains, they may have different behaviors depending on the individual fish. Ghost Butterfly Koi are also known for their hardiness. They can withstand colder water temperatures than other koi. They can also tolerate a wide range of pH levels and water hardness.

It's not unusual to observe Ghost Koi in water arriving first for food and consuming the most, which is an instinctive action. They'll also frequently walk around the water surface seeking food, making themselves quite visible and entertaining to watch.

The Ghost Butterfly Koi are peaceful fish, and they get along well with other koi and pond fish. They can, however, become aggressive at times. This is especially true during the spawning season. Providing plenty of food and hiding places in the lake will aid in lowering aggressiveness.

Why Are Ghost Koi Called Ghost Koi

Popular Color Variations 

Even though these koi fishes are available in many colors, they cannot be considered a separate koi category. However, two ghost butterfly koi strains have been particularly famous in recent years and are often seen in ponds and aquaria. They are:

White or Silver Ghost Butterfly Koi 

White ghost butterflies are the result of crossing a white ghost koi with a white butterfly koi. A white ghost carp is a cross between the Purachina Ogon and the mirror carp. This results in a white ghost butterfly that will have some similar traits to all of its ancestors.

The silver ghost koi butterfly has a lovely white coloring, long fins, and a beautiful appearance. They have black markings along their flanks and back and pearly white scales. The space between the eyes is generally colorless. Pectoral fins may or may not be marked in some cases.

Because this is a relatively recent cultivar, there are no specific color or pattern standards in place. The head and fins may be white in tone. Colors are reversed since the entire body tone is white. Except for the fact that they have long-flowing fins, they appear to be quite similar to the Japanese Gin Matsuba strain.

Yellow or Golden Ghost Butterfly Koi 

The yellow ghost butterfly koi variety looks much like its white counterpart, except its base color is a muted grayish or golden yellow. This is due to the fact that its parent, the golden ghost koi, is a cross between Yamabuki Ogon and mirror carp, which has a solid yellow tone.

The sides and back of the fish appear to have smudged charcoal-gray or black scales. Some fish may have white-colored scales as well. The pectoral fins might be multi-hued, with distinctively marked rays. These hues may appear in juvenile koi and are generally maintained throughout their existence. Yellow ghost butterfly koi look somewhat similar to Ki Matsuba.

Keeping Butterfly Ghost Koi

Carp species are highly hardy fish and can adjust to a wide range of weather conditions, making them ideal for ponds all around the world. However, If you want a lovely, healthy fish, you'll need to take some additional precautions when caring for it.

Pond Requirements 

If you want to house a large number of ghost butterfly koi, it is recommended that your pond be at least 1000 gallons. If you live in a cold climate, it's best to have a larger pond so that the fish can survive the winter months. Your pond should also have a filtration system, as well as plants and rocks for the fish to hide in. Ghost butterfly koi are known to be jumpers, so make sure your pond has a cover to keep them from escaping.

Water Quality

The water quality in your pond is very important for the health of your fish. Ghost butterfly koi are very tolerant of different water conditions, but the ideal pH level for them is between 6.5 and 8.0.

They prefer water that is soft to medium hardness. You should test the water in your pond regularly to make sure it is within the optimal range for the fish. Too much-dissolved oxygen can be harmful to your freshwater fish, causing them to suffocate. At all times, the level of dissolved oxygen should be maintained at 6-7 ppm. Apart from keeping the fish calm and comfortable, this would assist in the prevention of toxic build-up.

It would be ideal to keep the water crystal clear in order to fully comprehend ghost koi. In dirty or plankton-rich water, the grey color and metallic scales of the fish would be overlooked. The water should also be kept clean and free of debris. You can achieve this by having a good filtration system in place.


Ghost butterfly koi are not fussy eaters and will accept most types of food. They are omnivorous, which means they will eat both plants and animals. A good diet for them should consist of pellets, flakes, live food, and frozen food. You can also supplement their diet with occasional treats of fruits and vegetables. Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are especially good for them.

When feeding your fish, it is important to remember that koi are cold-blooded animals and their metabolism slows down in cooler water temperatures. This means they will not need as much food in the winter as they do in the summer. It is best to feed them small amounts several times a day rather than one large meal. This will prevent them from overheating and becoming obese.

Feed them only as much as they can eat in a few minutes. Remove any uneaten food, as it will sink to the bottom of the pond and decompose, causing the water to become polluted.


Like all other types of fish, ghost butterfly koi are susceptible to diseases. The most common ones include white parasitic diseases such as Ich and velvet, bacterial infections such as fin rot and columnar and fungal infections such as mouth fungus. These diseases can be treated with a variety of medications, but it is always best to prevent them in the first place as they can be deadly to your fish.

The best way to prevent disease is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. This means keeping the water quality high, providing them with a nutritious diet, and not overcrowding the pond. It is also important to quarantine any new fish before adding them to the pond. This will give you a chance to observe them for any signs of disease and treat them before they have a chance to infect the other fish.

If you see any of your fish behaving strangely or seeming unhealthy, remove them from the pond and examine them thoroughly. Before adding new fish to your pond, quarantine them to prevent infections from spreading throughout.

Look for signs of disease such as white spots on the skin, lethargy, loss of appetite, and unusual behavior. Salting your pond might help to prevent illnesses by disinfecting it. However, too much salt might be deadly for your fish, therefore it is critical to use the correct quantity. Maintaining a clean pond and good water quality are other ways to avoid illness.

Breeding_Ghost Butterfly Koi


Ghost butterflies are beautiful, colorful, and fascinating creatures that can provide hours of enjoyment. It may be a delightful experience to breed them. The ideal time to breed them is in the spring when the water temperatures start to rise. To prepare for breeding, there are several things you should do. Follow these tips for the best chance of success:

Prepare the Breeding Tank

You will need a separate breeding tank that is at least 50 gallons in size. It should have a filter and heater to maintain the water temperature at 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The water should be well-oxygenated with a bubbler or air stone. The tank should also be equipped with a breeding net or separator to keep the parents and fry (baby fish) apart. Keeping a fry mat for the female to lay eggs is also suggested.

Condition the Parents 

While selecting the parents for breeding make sure that they are at least 3 years old. This will help to ensure that they are of good quality and robust enough to handle the stress of reproduction. It is best to choose a male and female that has similar color patterns. You should also make sure that they are healthy and free from any diseases.

To increase the chances of successful breeding, it is important to condition the parents beforehand. This means feeding them a high-quality diet and keeping the water clean and well-oxygenated.

Foods rich in vitamins and minerals will help to promote spawning. You can also add live foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia to the diet. The parents should be well-fed but not overweight. Increase the feeding gradually over a period of weeks to condition them.

Raise the Water Temperature 

In the wild, koi spawn when the water temperatures begin to rise in the spring. Therefore, a few weeks before you plan to breed your fish, slowly raise the water temperature to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will stimulate them to start spawning.

Introduce the Parents

When the breeding tank is ready and the water temperature is right, you can introduce the male and female ghost butterflies. This can be done by gently scooping them into the tank with a net. If possible, try to introduce a group of males and females in order to increase the chances of breeding.


The spawning starts with the male chasing the female. This can get a little bit aggressive so it is important to keep an eye on them. The female ghost butterfly will lay thousands of eggs on the fry mat which the male will then fertilize. After spawning is complete, it is important to remove the parents from the tank because they might eat the eggs.

Hatch and Raise the Fry

The eggs will hatch within 3-5 days. At first, they will be very small and vulnerable to predators. It is important to keep the tank well-oxygenated and free of debris. You can raise the fry in a separate tank or grow them out in the breeding tank.

To avoid cannibalism, it is best to remove them from the breeding tank when they are about 1/2 inch in size. You don't have to feed them for the first few days because they will live off their yolk sacs. After that, you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp or other small live foods. Gradually increase the size of the food as they grow.

As your fry grows, you will need to provide them with more space. You can either set up a larger tank or divide the fry into multiple tanks. Keep in mind that ghost butterflies are social creatures and do best when kept in groups. Therefore, it is best to keep them in groups of at least 6-8 fish.

Note: Cull any weak or sick koi fish from the group. Culling is the process of removing fry that is not up to standard. This is often done to prevent inbreeding and to improve the quality of the fish.

Frequent Questions 

What Is the Difference Between Gin Rin and Doitsu Ghost Butterfly Koi (h3)

Gin Rin Ghost Butterfly Koi (metallic scales): As the name suggests, this fish has a sparkling, glittering appearance due to its Gin Rin (metallic) scales. They may have either yellow or white scales.

Doitsu Ghost Butterfly Koi (no scales): Doitsu ghost butterfly koi is the scaleless version of the ghost butterfly koi. Even though they don't have any scales, they have a very smooth and velvety texture. These koi are available in both yellow and white colors.

Why Are Ghost Koi Called Ghost Koi

Why Are Ghost Koi Called Ghost Koi?

The Ghost koi got its name because of its deceptive coloring. The first Ghost koi was dark in color, allowing it to blend into the dark depths of a pond with only its metallic scales betraying its presence, making it look like the ghost of a koi fish.

Is Ghost Butterfly Koi Expensive? 

The cost of butterfly koi is significantly lower than that of genuine Nishikigoi Koi Carp since they aren't regarded or classified as genuine Koi Carp by zealous Koi enthusiasts. 

How Big Do Ghost Butterfly Koi Get?

The Ghost Butterfly Koi grows to a length of around 30 inches (76 cm). The maturation and physical development rate of this variety are comparable to those of common Japanese koi.

Is Butterfly Koi More Expensive? 

While a butterfly koi is more valuable when it has a properly defined and positioned pattern in the color and flowing fins, the price is still significantly lower than that of a Nishikigoi koi carp.

What Type of Koi Is the Most Expensive?

The Kohaku Koi, a red and white carp, is the most costly Koi in the world, having been sold for about $2.2 million US dollars in China.

What Is the Size of a Ghost Koi?

The Average Ghost koi size is 30 inches (76 cm) and more. Sometimes they can grow even larger. This depends on the conditions and environment in which they are kept.

What Is a Ghost Koi?

Ghost Koi is a cross between a mirror carp and a metallic Ogon Koi. Ghost Koi grow faster than ordinary koi and have a gleaming metallic sheen, yellow scales, or a ghost white appearance. In order for koi to thrive, they require stability in their home environment. 

Why Has My Ghost Koi Changed Color?

Poor quality food and nutrition are two of the most frequent reasons for koi to lose their color. Other potential causes of faded colors in koi include inadequate lighting, low water temperature, poor water quality, or excessive stress.

What Is the Rarest Color of Ghost Butterfly Koi?

The coloration of the Ghost Butterfly Koi is unusual, as they do not come in a wide range of hues like other common varieties. These koi are generally only available in two distinct hues: white and yellow, with golden yellow being the rarest. This ghost rare butterfly koi has beautiful shining scales that make it look like it's glowing in the dark.

Does Ghost Koi Kill Other Fishes? 

Despite their name, ghost butterfly koi are not harmful to other fish and will not kill them. In fact, these metallic koi fish are generally peaceful koi that get along well with other fish.


The Ghost Butterfly Koi is a beautiful ornamental fish that is perfect for any outdoor pond or aquarium. These coldwater fish are easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of environments. However, it is important to remember that they require a high-quality diet and regular attention in order to maintain their color and patterns.

Feeding foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fats will help to keep your koi healthy and vibrant. Make sure not to overfeed them as ghost koi eat almost everything they see. Overfeeding can cause problems such as bloating and swim bladder disease. Therefore, it is important to feed your koi the appropriate amount of food based on their size, age, and weather.

The water in their habitat must also be kept clean and clear in order to keep them healthy and free of disease. Filters, aquatic plants, and regular water changes are necessary to achieve this. Careful observation will allow you to catch any potential problems early and take corrective action. Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to enjoying these beautiful fish for years to come.

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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